Enlightenment and flying saucer
Discovery of the italki website, in combination with a renewed spurt of producing stories in Chinese, could prove a winning formula for my literary prospects. As an italki member I write Chinese, post it into the website, and find it corrected by a native Chinese speaker, or two, or three, a few hours later. Translating English to Chinese is tricky, a major feature being that the sequence of words, phrases, clauses, and even sentences often needs to be almost totally reversed. Whilst my first italki ‘notebook’ post was simply Chinese off the top of my head, subsequent postings have been translations of material I have initially composed in English. I am beginning the tale of my involvement in the 1970s with the evangelical meditation proseletising group Divine Light Mission.
‘Enlightenment’ and the ‘Perfect Master’
When I was young I was rather gullible, so when in my mid-teens I encountered a group of people claiming a fourteen year old Indian boy was the ‘Perfect Master’, the one human being in the world who, like Jesus and Krishna, is ‘God incarnate’, I went along with the idea.
Whilst prior to meeting these people my main concern had been to get along with my school-friends, thenceforth my focus was on ‘enlightenment’. The group claimed this was attainable through being initiated into, then practising, the four meditation techniques that were the Perfect Master’s gift to those fit to receive them, and what was required was for the ‘seeker after truth’ to give up drink, drugs, smoking, meat and eggs, and regularly attend the group’s meetings.
Magic Teapot and the Flying Saucer
The group favoured communal living, and consequently at nineteen years of age I took on the role of ‘housefather’ in a communal house. Conversation in my communal house was very ‘New Age’; ideas on astrology, the Age of Aquarius, eastern mysticism, earth mysteries, flying saucers and eco-living flew around like confetti.
Thousands of us flocked to the Astrodome in Houston, Texas, egged on by a belief that the structure would transform into a huge vehicle that would take us cruising through the universe. It is true the Astrodome does resemble a flying saucer, but there must have been more to the idea than that of the stadium’s appearance. Possibly there was a connection with the ‘Magic Teapot’ the band Gong were forever going on about at the time, and a lack of strict adherence to the group’s ‘No drugs!’ policy on the part of some of its members.